Peer mentoring is an essential but often overlooked aspect of an artist’s working life. Peer groups provide not only critical feedback necessary to develop work, but also the practical day-to-day support and encouragement that is the lifeblood of a sustainable practice.

PEER FORUM at The Photographers' Gallery, Photo courtesy Daniel Regan
PEER FORUM at The Photographers’ Gallery – Photo by Daniel Regan

Benefits to artists participating in peer mentoring activity usually include

1) Feedback 
The key benefit of participating in a peer mentoring group is getting feedback on your work. Input on work-in-progress from a range of perspectives can open up new directions for your practice.

2) Practical help and advice
Peer mentoring groups can be useful for practical recommendations; a good framers or art shippers for example, or technical tips on producing work.

3) Pastoral support
Artists often experience isolation and self-doubt, question their worth as practitioners and feel like giving up. A peer group can provide validation, encouragement and support to keep going.

4) Expanded opportunities, networks and collaborations
Most opportunities to collaborate or exhibit come through an artist’s peers or introductions that they’ve made. Being part of a peer mentoring group increases your chance of expanding your networks and getting such opportunities.